Today I am joining other bloggers to host H.A.Leuschel and ‘Manipulated Lives’ as part of the 3 day blog blitz organised by RaRaResources. As always, big thank you to Rachel for the blitz invited, as well as my copy of the book. Here is my review:
Five stories – Five Lives
Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?
Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim.
In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret.
All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.
What does TWG think?
Five stories all centred around one thing – manipulation. At some point in our lives, we have either been a victim of manipulation, or witnessed a loved one crumble due to someone else’s manipulation. It’s hard to watch, it’s incredibly hard to go through. Unfortunately like many, I have been both the victim of that, and had to watch a loved one go through it as well.
I’m not going to say that I enjoyed reading this, because I don’t see how anyone could sit there and say that they enjoyed reading stories so harrowing as the ones written here. That said, I could appreciate the way in which the author had delivered each story, and I could appreciate why the author chose to write stories about an incredibly disturbing topic. Hats off to H.A.Leuschel for bringing this topic into the spotlight as a lot of people can’t quite understand the trials and tribulations of manipulation. Well, unless you’ve gone through it yourself, you’ll probably not be able to understand it one hundred percent, but I do thank the author for having the courage to write about this harrowing, and often stigmatic subject.
At the end of each short story, I didn’t feel a sense of relief that the characters heartache had diminished. Why? Because even though the story may have come to an end, the aftermath will stay with the character for a very long time. Yes, I realise that this is fictional, but the topic isn’t. These were such dark and depressing tales which made me feel incredibly sad because I could see what was happening, yet I couldn’t stop it from happening.
All 5 stories are incredibly different, with each character going through a different level of manipulation and attempting to come out of it. The story which resonated with me the most was Tess’. That lady may have been troubled but she held onto a secret which clipped her wings far too early. Tess needed to be free. She needed to be believed. But, due to the nature of the manipulation, she no longer had her wings to fly, and nobody left to propel her into the sky.
About the author.
Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.
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